Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 7, 2013

Town asked to pay part of GLTS work

By Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

---- — Andover selectmen opened and closed the Town Meeting warrant again, so that a $6.1 million project at the Greater Lawrence Technical School can proceed.

Because so few Andover youth attend the River Road school, town voters will be asked to pay for a small share of a project to renovate the Greater Lawrence Technical School’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Of the $6.1 million price tag, around 80 percent of the project is expected to be covered by the Mass. School Building Authority. The towns that are served by the school — Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover — will split the remaining cost based on how many students they each send to the vocational school, school Superintendent John Lavoie said.

For Andover voters, that amounts to spending $22,717, to be split out over 10 years if approved. How much the other three towns will need to spend wasn’t available Monday night, but Andover’s contribution amounts to around 2 percent of what the towns will need to raise in total, assuming a $1.2 million expense for the four towns.

The number per year “would change based on student population, how many students from Andover attend Greater Lawrence Technical School,” Lavoie said. “If the number of students went up, the cost would go up proportionately. If it went down, it would go down proportionately.”

The project will replace heating, cooling and ventilation systems throughout the building, Lavoie said.

“This originally started as a chiller,” Lavoie said. “We had an obsolete chiller system, which provides air conditioning to the school, that was not part of the original 10-year renovation project 10 years ago.”

A Town Meeting warrant article for Andover’s share of the project didn’t make it to the warrant in time because technical high school officials were still calculating the project’s cost, according to Lavoie. That cost was finally determined just a few weeks ago.

The Board of Selectmen voted Monday to open the warrant, insert the article and then close the warrant. They will vote on whether to recommend approval at a future meeting.

Andover residents will tackle the issue at Annual Town Meeting, to be held starting May 6 at the Andover High School field house.